Sean's Japan Travel Journal
by Sean, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2013/12/06 - Kamakura Report

Statue of Minamoto Yoritomo in Genjiyama Park

Today I visited Kamakura, the city that was the political center of Japan during the Kamakura Period (1192-1333). Kamakura is no longer of political prominence nowadays, but the many historical buildings and landmarks extant in the city serve to remind us of its past glory, and they are accordingly very popular among tourists. In a typical year, Kamakura is one of the latest places to enjoy autumn colors, which reach their best around early December. However, it seems that the season is slightly early this year, and I was only able to catch the later part of it today.

My first stop was at Hasedera, a temple famous for its precious statue of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, one of the largest wooden sculptures in Japan. Light-up events are held in the evenings from sunset to 19:00 (entry until 18:30), but only till the coming Sunday; understandably so because the season has passed its peak at Hasedera and visitors hoping to catch still somewhat pleasant autumn colors here had better hurry.

Some of the best colors at Hasedera today
Some trees still with attractive colors; others have lost most of their leaves
Incense burner with Jizo Bodhisattva in the background
Pond at Hasedera, around which most of the colors can be seen

A short walk away was the iconic Daibutsu - the Great Buddha of Kamakura. While not a spectacular autumn leaf spot, the area surrounding the Daibutsu offers some nice autumn colors if you come at the right time. Unfortunately, that time had passed, and I was only able to catch some little pockets of colors. Seeing the awesome statue made up for the lack of fall views though.

Tried my best to locate some colors
The Great Buddha of Kamakura behind a light curtain of ginkgo leaves
Local specialties: Hase dango and Great Buddha manju

Next, I hiked to Genjiyama Park, which is located on a hill northeast of the Great Buddha. The season is similarly at its closing stages at the park and I think visitors looking for any fall colors here have only till this weekend at the most. There were a noticeable number of camellia trees in bloom though, and if they are your cup of tea, their season should last quite a bit longer.

Genjiyama Park
The most colorful maple tree remaining
Fallen leaves
Christmas Camellia

Today's best colors were spotted at the two temples that I visited last: Meigetsuin and Engakuji. That having been said, the best colors have already gone too and the autumn views, albeit still good, were on a decline. Many leaves had dried and fallen. The ones that remained on the branches were still pretty, but have lost that freshness and luster that usually accompany leaves at their peak.

As the season inches towards the finish line at Kamakura, should you happen to visit over the next few days, Meigetsuin and Engakuji are your best bets for at least some nice fall colors. Look through the famous circular window at Meigetsuin; if the colors are still good, pay the extra 500 yen to visit the inner garden. At Engakuji, the most promising spots are the stairway that leads from Kita-Kamakura Station to the temple buildings, and around the ponds at the higher sections of the temple.

The famous window at Meigetsuin
In the back garden
Sweeping away the fallen leaves
Sometimes it's beautiful too looking through the window in the opposite direction
Arriving at Engakuji
Pond at Engakuji

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List of Posts:
2014/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2014/05/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsumae
2014/04/23 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko
2014/04/17 - Cherry Blossom Report: Takato
2014/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko
2014/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2014/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hikone
2014/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsuyama
2014/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2014/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2014/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/03/06 - Shopping around Northern Osaka
2014/01/23 - Nikko in Winter

2013/12/31 - Sean's Travel Highlights 2013
2013/12/06 - Kamakura Report
2013/11/26 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/22 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/21 - Miyajima Report
2013/11/19 - Korankei Report
2013/11/18 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/11 - Sakurayama Report
2013/11/08 - Karuizawa Report
2013/10/29 - Nikko Report
2013/10/18 - Nasu Report
2013/10/17 - Nikko Report
2013/10/14 - Mount Fuji Report
2013/10/10 - Oze Report
2013/09/27 - Alpine Route Report
2013/09/13 - Nakanojo Biennale 2013
2013/08/07 - Exploring Tokyo 2: Around the Tokyo Imperial Palace
2013/05/20 - Tottori Sand Museum 2013
2013/05/07 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2013/05/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2013/05/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate
2013/04/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kitakami
2013/04/23 - Northern Kanto Flower Report
2013/04/17 - Cherry Blossom Report: Takayama
2013/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsumoto
2013/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2013/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2013/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Gunma
2013/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2013/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/03/31 - Visiting Shodoshima for the Setouchi Triennale 2013
2013/03/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/03/27 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2013/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagoya
2013/03/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2013/03/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2013/03/12 - Tokyo Early Cherry Blossom Report
2013/02/17 - Tokamachi Snow Festival
2013/02/16 - Zao Snow Monster Report
2013/02/15 - Yokote Kamakura Festival
2013/01/10 - Winter Visit to Manza Onsen
2013/01/02 - Tokyo New Year Report

2012/12/31 - Sean's Travel Highlights 2012
2012/12/11 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2012/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Takaosan
2012/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/15 - Autumn Color Report: Shosenkyo
2012/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Yamadera
2012/11/06 - Autumn Color Report: Naruko
2012/11/05 - Autumn Color Report: Hiraizumi
2012/11/01 - Autumn Color Report: Kuju
2012/10/26 - Autumn Color Report: Minakami
2012/10/24 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2012/10/16 - Autumn Color Report: Norikura
2012/10/12 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2012/10/09 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2012/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2012/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Kurodake
2012/09/27 - Autumn Color Report: Kogen Onsen
2012/09/26 - Autumn Color Report: Asahidake
2012/09/17 - Exploring Tokyo: Gate Bridge
2012/08/20 - Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2012
2012/06/27 - Hiking at Mount Azuma
2012/06/18 - Legoland Discovery Center opens in Odaiba
2012/06/18 - Hydrangea Flowers in Kamakura
2012/06/04 - Tokyo Skytree
2012/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sapporo
2012/05/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2012/05/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2012/04/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2012/04/29 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate
2012/04/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kitakami
2012/04/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hiraizumi
2012/04/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sendai
2012/04/24 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukushima
2012/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2012/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hiroshima
2012/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2012/04/06 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2012/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2012/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kagoshima
2012/03/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2012/03/08 - Plum Blossom Report from Kairakuen, Mito
2012/03/07 - Trip to Iwaki, Fukushima
2012/02/21 - Plum Blossom Report from Tokyo
2012/01/30 - Skiing in Inawashiro, Fukushima
2012/01/27 - Kusatsu Hot Springs